Guitar Hero killed off, True Crime cancelled, new studio to work on Call of Duty

With a yearly release of Guitar Hero games, it was only a matter of time before Activision announced the next iteration. But, in an interesting turn of events, there will be no Guitar Hero game during 2011. Even more mind-blowingly, there might not be another one ever.

The publisher today announced – during its December quarter and calendar year 2010 financial results call – that due to a steep decline in the music genre, the IP that has been with us for so long, giving us all kinds of plastic instruments to store in places we don’t have, has been killed off. This has also affected the DJ Hero franchise, which has reportedly been scratched to death as well.

During said call, it was also announced that the development of United Front’s True Crime: Hong Kong, supposedly to be released this year, will cease. A pretty bold move from the publisher given the game had been in development since 2009. Then again, it hadn’t really been shown to the world except for the glimpse we caught at 2010’s E3 so quite frankly, we’re not entirely sure what we’ve missed out on.

As if the Call of Duty franchise didn’t have enough studios to work on it, Activision president Bobby Kotick also made reference to “Beachhead,” a new internal studio that will join the current four (Infinity Ward, Treyarch, Sledgehammer, Raven) working on the franchise. However, Beachhead will only focus “on the development of an innovative new platform and services for Call of Duty,” with Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg saying it “will create a best in class online community, exclusive content… to supercharge the online gaming experience like never before.”

To top it off, a new, free to play Call of Duty game was also announced, for the Chinese market, although it shouldn’t expect it to be released until 2012.